Japan is progressing its programme to develop a 155 mm/52-calibre wheeled self-propelled howitzer (SPH) to replace Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force’s (JGSDF’s) ageing FH-70 towed artillery system, the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced.
In a statement in late June, the MoD’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) said that it has recently taken delivery of five prototypes of the wheeled SPH system, which was developed by domestic land systems company, Japan Steel Works. ATLA gave no designation for the new system.
ATLA said it will now evaluate and test the SPH, which is based on 8x8 chassis, before potential orders of the platform. Compared to the FH-70, ATLA added that the system provides improvements in relation to mobility, networking, navigation, and targeting.
According to details released by ATLA, the wheeled SPH system has a length of 11.4 m, a width of 2.5 m, a height of 3.4 m, and will typically have an operating crew of five personnel. In an image of the wheeled SPH published by ATLA, the system is integrated with a tactical military truck produced by German manufacturer MAN.
Japan Steel Works reportedly started working on the development of the wheeled SPH in 2012 under a USD100 million contract from the MoD. Under a previous with agreement with Rheinmetall, Japan Steel Works also licence produced the FH-70 system. The JGSDF is thought to operate around 300 FH-70s since the early 1980s.
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